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A quick trip to Disneyland

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Published: January 4, 2006 at 10:32 PM

Laurie, the kids and I enjoyed a post-New Year's trip to Disneyland today. So you will find updated listings and photos throughout TPI's Disneyland pages.

As I said in a column last year, Disneyland is looking better it has in a decade, with attractive repair work done and smoothly operating attractions around the park. Even when things went wrong, such as a busted throttle cable disabling the Tom Sawyer raft on Tom Sawyer's Island, the attractions operators handled the situation smoothly. It's an impressive lesson for other area parks that take a far more haphazard attitude toward running their parks at full capacity.

Despite a strong crowd, we didn't wait more than 15 minutes for anything all day. Here was our itinerary (times are when we got on the ride):

8:05 - arrive Mickey & Friends parking garage
8:25 - arrive ticket booths
8:40 - arrive at top of Main Street to stake out space for the rope drop.
9:00 - head for Space Mountain. See delayed opening there and make sharp left into Buzz Lightyear
9:15 - Space Mountain.
9:25 - pictures in front of castle
9:45 - Mad Tea Party
10:05 - Storybook Land
10:20 - Carousel
10:45 - Mark Twain
11:15 - Lunch at French Market
12:10 - Tom Sawyer's Island
1:20 - Haunted Mansion
1:50 - Pirates of the Caribbean
2:15 - Jungle Cruise
2:40 - Tiki room
3:10 - Main Street Station for round-trip train ride.

Twelve attractions in about six hours, hitting all our favorites, with a leisurely lunch and no rushing. Not a bad day. The key, as always, is *get there before the park opens*.

Theme parks are for morning people. Late sleepers wait!

Readers' Opinions

From Danny Bernard on January 5, 2006 at 2:09 AM
Sounds like a great trip. How were the lines before you left? Oh and I hear they're offering the "2Fer" again. Can you purchase those at the park?
From Robert Niles on January 5, 2006 at 10:48 AM
The longest lines I saw posted on the Plaza board as we left were 45 minutes for Roger Rabbit and for Indy. Pirates and Mansion were posted as 25 minutes, but really stood closer to 15.

And, yes! Thank you for reminding me. SoCal residents get the two one-day tickets for the price of one. The catch being, again, that you have to use the other ticket at the other park. (And you can't use them both on the same day.) But, you can get the second day free on the one-day park-hopper as well, making it basically a two-day park-hopper for $79. In both cases, the second day expires after 30 days.

From Danny Bernard on January 5, 2006 at 1:06 PM
Sounds good. I'm planning on going Friday but I just cant decide which ticket to use first :) Probably DL, as I plan on going to use the extra ticket on Martin Luther King Day.
From Greg S on January 5, 2006 at 11:40 PM
I'm glad you had fun! Yes, theme parks are for morning people. I've found a way to be able to go on X at Six Flags Magic Mountain at least once everytime I go, with a maximum wait of 20 minutes.

Too bad as time goes on, I'm becoming less of a morning person. ;)

Wait a minute...Tiki room? I heard they closed this! I'll have to check it out next time I go.

From Robert Niles on January 6, 2006 at 10:38 AM
Hey Greg, care to share with us your secret for getting on X? I haven't managed to get on that thing since the day it opened.
From Anthony Murphy on January 9, 2006 at 10:21 AM
Quite impressive Robert! I think that is a record for a quick DL trip! I went there over the spring and we are seasoned WDW people and we thought we were effective in our time, but it was NOTHING like yours. I will agree that going to the parks early will give you better times. This is the only way I have found you are able to go to AK and keep your sanity! Do you think it was just luck? Good job!
From Robert Niles on January 10, 2006 at 8:23 PM
One neat thing I enjoyed is that we did not use FastPass during the trip. (I would have used it for Indiana Jones, grabbing the passes on our way to lunch, hoping to ride after Tiki, but no one in the family was interested in riding.... Gross-out attractions don't hold much appeal for us.)

So it is possible to do a productive trip without having to wrap your head around FastPass -- if you show up early and do the popular-but-lower-capacity rides first (in our case, Space Mountain and Buzz). Then do the not-as-popular-and-lower capacity rides (Tea Cups, Storybook Land, Tom Sawyer Island), followed by the popular-and-high-capacity attractions (Mansion and Pirates).

And if you want to ride the train, you must board at Main Street! Don't even think about getting on elsewhere, or you'll be stuck behind tired, frustrated riders foolishly trying to use the train as an "easy" way to get back to Main Street -- even though they'll wait longer in line for the train than it would have taken them to walk.

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